Swapo councillor writes off official car

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

CHAIRPERSON of the Ohangwena Regional Council Erickson Ndawanifa has denied having crashed a government vehicle, despite confirmation from police in the region that he had done so.

He was charged with reckless and negligence driving, Contravening the Road Transportation Act of 1999.

It is alleged that on the night of 21 September, Ndawanifa – who is also the constituency councillor for Omulonga – was reportedly driving along Oshikango-Eenhana road when the car he was driving collided head-on with another vehicle.

According to those in the know, Ndawanifa also failed to comply with the instructions of police officers at the scene of the accident. This allegedly prompted them to arrest, who was released on bail of N$4 000 on 24 September, after his appearance in Ohangwena Regional Court.  The case was remanded to 25 October.

“He was taken to the hospital but later detained after it came to light that he was driving under the influence of alcohol, but he has been given a car again. If it was some junior people they would have been suspended or dismissed,” a source said.

“When the police officer arrested him, they were asked by commissioners why they had arrested him. They don’t want this thing to be spoken about.” Sources privy to the matter said although Ndawanifa bumped the Toyota pick-up, the council has since given him another.

Asked about the incident, Ndawanifa said he was never involved in a car accident. “Who gave you that information? Not me. Go back to those who gave you that information … I think they have their own background of the whole story,” he said.

Nevertheless, Ohangwena chief regional officer Fillipus Shilongo confirmed that Ndawanifa had been involved in a car accident.

“Honourable Ndawanifa is a councillor and his portfolio is chairperson of the regional council … all 14 chairpersons of regional councils are entitled to official government transport, just like you have your ministers and deputies.

“In case the minister or deputy minister or chairperson or governor is involved in an accident, it is the responsibility of the office to make sure that such person is given another official transport so that he is able to perform his official duty.

“So, in this case, Honourable Ndawanifa was involved in an accident… therefore [after] the accident the police had to be informed. He himself informed the police that he had been involved in an accident and they should come to the scene.”

Asked about the council vehicle, Shilongo said he did not know where the car was at present, but gave assurances that it was taken to asafe place. Currently Honourable Ndawanifa as the chairperson is given another official transport to enable him to perform his official duties,” he said.

Confidente is informed that the damaged car is currently parked at Ohangwena police station.

Usually if a government employee crashes a car they are made to pay for it, but in Ndawanifa’s case it is not clear whether he would be required to pay for the damages. Shilongo said: “There are set rules and regulations, such as transport policy, that guides how matters … are dealt with, and decisions are made informed by the facts of every circumstance.”

Police in Ohangwena confirmed that the councillor had been involved in a car crash and that a case (CR41/09/2019) was opened.